Sadler Bell: Using My Vlog to Even Out the Playing Field for All Athletes

Hey everyone, my name is Sadler Bell and I am 37 years old.  I live in Madison, and I am involved with three nonprofit organizations in Dane County.  Included in these nonprofits are: the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society (MADSS), Gigi’s Playhouse, and LOV Inc., Living Our Visions Inclusively.  I take a lot of pride in my advocacy work.  When I am not working or helping out with these organizations, you can find me watching sports.  I enjoy watching the Packers and the Brewers; however, none of these teams are my favorite.  Growing up in Alabama, I will always root for the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!).  I met Olympic Team USA Curler Matt Hamilton at a Gigi’s Playhouse event last summer.  Matt, who lives just outside of Madison, is a Team USA gold medalist, and both he and his sister Becca were the 2017 Male and Female Curling Athletes of the year.

When I’m not watching sports, I enjoy biking to and from work (weather permitting) and cooking at home where I live independently.  

Years ago, I joined Special Olympics, in which I played softball and bowling.  During my time participating in Special Olympics, I made many friends and built lifelong relationships.  It didn’t take long for me to see how passionate all of the athletes were when competing, and just how extensive the Special Olympics community truly is!  Despite the passion that was displayed and the global outreach that Special Olympics holds, I have never seen major sports networks covering Special Olympics the same as they do for college and professional sports leagues.  As an athlete myself, it is virtually impossible for athletes with disabilities to be in the same realm as other athletes.  When I came to this realization, I knew I had to do something about it.  From that point on, I coined a motto that I still live by to this day: “Not all Special Olympics athletes have a voice, and I want the opportunity to give them a voice!”

Currently, I am in the process of launching my very own video blog, commonly referred to as a vlog, to advocate for athletes with disabilities.  I see myself turning this into a career, and I hope to have a lasting impact on everyone who is with me along the way.  Each and every day, professional, collegiate, Olympic, and Paralympic athletes are signing new deals and endorsements to be compensated for playing the sports that they love.  Do you know the one group that is missing?  Special Olympic athletes.  My lifelong goal for this vlog is to allow these athletes with disabilities, who hold the same passion for their sports that all other athletes do, to be on an even playing field.  I understand that it will not be an easy road, but as I have throughout my lifetime, I will persevere and stay the course.

As I continue to build and expand my vlog, I am planning on connecting with major sports teams and athletes to get them on board!  There is no better way to help build the bridge between Special Olympics athletes and professional sports teams, and in the early months of 2022, I will be reaching out to teams such as the Brewers, Bucks, and Packers.  On top of this, I plan on interviewing both Special Olympics AND professional/collegiate athletes to find a way to even the playing field!  Matt and Becca Hamilton, who have been so resourceful and supportive to the vlog, will be involved in the earlier vlog posts and will help kickstart the expansion of my advocacy.  Additionally, if everything works out, I plan on traveling to Orlando, Florida in June of 2022 to the USA Special Olympic Games.  While in Orlando, I will interview the athletes, coaches, and hopefully some of the representatives of the USA Special Olympics!

In the next year, I hope to apply for grants and receive external funding–this will go a long way in providing even more opportunities for the vlog.  I would absolutely love for all of you reading to reach out, send feedback, and let me know if you want to help me provide ALL athletes with the same opportunities.  I cannot wait to see the spread of my movement, and I hope I can motivate other people to advocate for what they believe in.  All one needs is a purpose, a goal of what they want to accomplish, and a drive to continue marching forward.  If you have all three, you can push yourself and achieve anything you put your mind to.  Thank you for reading my blog post, and I encourage everyone to keep a close eye on my vlog, as there are many exciting things in the future!

Here’s a sneak peak of my first blog post: